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Fostering national unity

  • The government must take the initiative and put in the effort to reverse the trend of race politics.

Sin Chew Daily

There have been tons of assessments made on the first anniversary of the Pakatan Harapan government, but whatever the results, the government needs to forge ahead in its bid to realize a New Malaysia.

As a multicultural country, the establishment of a New Malaysia will invariably entail the tacky racial issue.

Prime Minster Tun Mahathir emphasized in a media interview in conjunction with the PH government's first anniversary that the government basically is still very much concerned about the racial issue, and has indeed tried many different ways to unite the nation.

This is the attitude which the government should have. If the government is taking appropriate and effective measures to promote greater racial integration and promote national unity, it is a matter of time a Bangsa Malaysia irrespective of skin color will become a reality.

Nevertheless, this is by no means a smooth and easy path. Historical and current events in this country show that breaking the racial barrier is not easy at all.

Racism has been present in this country for so long, erecting a formidable wall between the many races living here. It will take some time to bring down this barrier.

Indeed, building a wall is way easier than dismantling it. To build a bridge between the different communities and promote mutual understanding and interaction will be a demanding long-term task.

Sure enough racial integration and national unity have become a heated social topic in recent years. With the Malaysian society becoming increasingly matured, more and more Malaysians are willing to take the initiative to engage their fellow countrymen from different ethnic backgrounds.

As Tun Mahathir said, “We talk a lot about unity, being Malaysian and all that, but everybody talks about his own race.”

Many people are still not yet prepared to lay down their differences to embrace the Bangsa Malaysia identity.

The same dilemma happens in many other multicultural countries. Some political parties and politicians have been cooking up the racial issues. This is not only detrimental to racial integration but will even tear the nation apart if the situation is allowed to deteriorate.

A government for all Malaysians is therefore obliged to come up with firm resolution and political will to map out long-term policies and solutions to combat race politics and erect a national ideology.

The government must take the initiative and put in the effort to reverse the trend of race politics.

Unfortunately, the government still bows to pressure even though it has kept stressing the value of diversity. For instance, we have withdrawn from ratifying ICRED, and maintained the 90:10 racial quota for matriculation admission, among other things.

While the government is unable to make major breakthroughs in this respect on political grounds, at least it must draw up effective solutions to gradually move towards this end, eventually constructing a bridge of racial integration.

Of course, the people play a very crucial part here. Malaysians of different races must lay down their prejudices and walk out of their respective racial comfort zones to establish a harmonious relationship with other races so that we can work together hand in hand to build a diverse and tolerant nation.

 

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